At SmileUp Dentistry, when sleep apnea is discussed, we’re usually talking about peripheral sleep apnea. A less common type known as central sleep apnea is present but is rare. In peripheral sleep apnea, a person’s breathing repeatedly stops at night due to occlusion by the jaw and tongue as they fall back.
Sleep apnea has many complications that are dangerous enough to include the heart. There’s also the risk of accidents as people with sleep apnea experience daytime fatigue and sleepiness. This can affect their concentration and ability to drive.
We see several patients throughout the year who come to us at SmileUp Dentistry to be custom-fitted with a sleep apnea dental appliance. These devices are preferred by many people nowadays.
Sleep apnea dental appliances work by keeping the jaw and tongue in a fixed position. In doing so, the tongue and jaw can’t roll back to obstruct the airway and get in the way of breathing. There are two main types of appliances: mandibular advancement and tongue retaining devices.
Dental appliances are most effective in mild to moderate cases, but not in severe cases. They’re not a substitute for CPAP in severe sleep apnea cases. They can be, however, used in combination with CPAP to lower the air pressure required.
Doctors refer sleep apnea patients to us when they need dental appliances. These appliances need to be custom-fitted for them to work properly. Appliances that are too big or too small won’t be able to hold the tongue and jaw in place the way they should.
Additionally, appliances that fit poorly can make sleeping harder. They can even worsen sleep apnea because they’re getting in the way. While going to the dentist isn’t always fun, at SmileUp Dentistry, we do our best to guarantee you’re comfortable and feel good when you visit our office.
Sleep apnea can make everyday life difficult. Getting it treated as soon as possible before things get worse is of the utmost importance. See a doctor and discuss your treatment options.
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